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Turkey Revive Death Penalty, EU Strongly Opposes

In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt by the army, Turkey announced that it is considering reintroducing capital punishment. The decision to bring back death penalty, which had been abolished in 2004, has met with sharp criticism from EU, with the Austrian Foreign Minister calling it ‘unacceptable’.

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday there could be no delay in using capital punishment, and the government would discuss the measure with opposition parties.

In a statement to the press, Erdogan said:

“We cannot delay this any more because in this country, those who launch a coup will have to pay the price for it,” 

Turkey has ambitions to join the European Union, but a revival of the death penalty would freeze any discussion of membership. According to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogeherini, Turkey needs to follow the ‘rule of law’ and maintain the integrity of democratic institutions. 

Before a meeting between EU foreign ministers, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told an Austrian newspaper:

“The introduction of the death penalty would of course be absolutely unacceptable,”

In the meeting on Monday, EU foreign ministers will urge Erdogan to respect the law and human rights in dealing with defeated coup plotters, but they have limited leverage over their strategic neighbour.

Kurz said:

“There must be no arbitrary purges, no criminal sanctions outside the framework of the rule of law and the justice system, .– Austria will push at the foreign ministers’ meeting …to set very clear boundaries for Erdogan.”

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